Cheesy Taco Pasta Recipe



  • 1 box (16 oz) small noodles (such as macaroni)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 block Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 can (10 oz) Rotel tomatoes
  • Optional: 1 can (15 oz) Mexican corn, drained


  1. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet or pan, brown the ground beef over medium heat until fully cooked.
  3. Add the taco seasoning to the cooked ground beef, stirring until well combined.
  4. Add the can of Rotel tomatoes (with juice), cubed Velveeta cheese, shredded Mexican cheese blend, and milk to the skillet with the cooked beef. Stir well to combine.
  5. If using, add the drained Mexican corn to the skillet.
  6. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cheeses are fully melted and the sauce is smooth and creamy.
  7. Once the sauce is ready, add the cooked noodles to the skillet and toss until the noodles are well coated in the cheesy taco sauce.
  8. Serve hot and enjoy your delicious Cheesy Taco Pasta!

Optional variations:

  • Substitute the noodles with cooked rice for a Cheesy Taco Rice dish.
  • Use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef for a lighter option.
  • Experiment with different types of cheese, such as cheddar, Monterey Jack, or pepper jack, for unique flavor combinations.
  • Add diced bell peppers, onions, or jalapeños for extra flavor and crunch.
  • For a spicier version, add a dash of hot sauce or sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes before serving.

This Cheesy Taco Pasta recipe is versatile and customizable, allowing you to tailor it to your taste preferences and ingredient availability. Enjoy experimenting with different variations and making it your own!

Here are some tips to make your Cheesy Taco Pasta even more delightful:

  1. Toast the Taco Seasoning: Before adding the taco seasoning to the ground beef, consider toasting it in the skillet for a minute or two. This helps to awaken the flavors and adds depth to the dish.
  2. Enhance the Meat Flavor: For a richer meaty flavor, sauté diced onions and minced garlic with the ground beef until softened before adding the taco seasoning.
  3. Mix Cheese Varieties: Experiment with different types of cheese to add complexity to the dish. Mix in some sharp cheddar cheese or pepper jack cheese along with the Velveeta and shredded Mexican cheese blend for extra cheesiness and flavor.
  4. Add Fresh Herbs: Stir in some chopped fresh cilantro or green onions at the end of cooking for a burst of freshness and color. Alternatively, sprinkle some fresh parsley or oregano over the finished dish for a different flavor profile.
  5. Incorporate Creamy Ingredients: For an even creamier texture, stir in a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt into the sauce along with the cheeses. This adds richness and tanginess to the dish.
  6. Roast the Tomatoes: If you have the time, consider roasting fresh tomatoes instead of using canned Rotel tomatoes. Roasting intensifies their flavor and adds a smoky sweetness to the dish.
  7. Add Texture: For added texture and crunch, top the finished pasta with crushed tortilla chips or toasted breadcrumbs just before serving. This provides a satisfying contrast to the creamy sauce.
  8. Spice it Up: Customize the level of heat to your preference by adjusting the amount of taco seasoning or adding a pinch of cayenne pepper or chipotle powder for extra spice.
  9. Finish with a Squeeze of Lime: Just before serving, squeeze a bit of fresh lime juice over the pasta to brighten up the flavors and add a tangy kick.
  10. Let it Rest: Allow the Cheesy Taco Pasta to rest for a few minutes after cooking to allow the flavors to meld together. This helps to achieve a harmonious balance of flavors throughout the dish.

By incorporating these tips, you can take your Cheesy Taco Pasta to the next level and create a dish that’s even more delightful and satisfying!

Here are some secrets to achieving the perfect Cheesy Taco Pasta:

  1. Season Liberally: Don’t be shy with the taco seasoning. It’s what gives the dish its signature flavor. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed to ensure a bold and flavorful dish.
  2. Choose the Right Pasta: Opt for a pasta shape that can hold the cheesy sauce well. Rotini, penne, or shells are great choices as they can trap the sauce inside their crevices, ensuring every bite is full of flavor.
  3. Balance the Cheese: While Velveeta provides creaminess and meltability, balance it out with other cheeses for depth of flavor. Mix in some sharp cheddar or Monterey Jack for a more complex cheesy profile.
  4. Simmer Slowly: Allow the cheese sauce to simmer gently over low heat rather than boiling it rapidly. This slow cooking process ensures that the cheese melts evenly and prevents it from becoming grainy.
  5. Add Dairy Gradually: When incorporating the milk and cheeses into the sauce, add them gradually while continuously stirring. This helps to prevent lumps and ensures a smooth and creamy texture.
  6. Don’t Overcook the Pasta: Cook the pasta just until al dente, as it will continue to cook slightly when mixed with the sauce. Overcooked pasta can become mushy and lose its texture when combined with the cheesy sauce.
  7. Customize with Toppings: Offer a variety of toppings for added texture and flavor. Options like diced tomatoes, sliced black olives, diced avocado, or crushed tortilla chips can take the dish to the next level.
  8. Let it Rest: Allow the finished dish to rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together and the sauce to thicken slightly, resulting in a more cohesive and flavorful dish.
  9. Adjust Consistency: If the sauce is too thick, thin it out with a splash of milk. If it’s too thin, simmer it for a few more minutes to allow it to reduce and thicken.
  10. Garnish Thoughtfully: Finish the Cheesy Taco Pasta with a sprinkle of chopped fresh cilantro, green onions, or jalapeños for a pop of color and freshness. These garnishes not only add visual appeal but also enhance the overall flavor profile of the dish.

By following these secrets, you’ll be well on your way to creating the perfect Cheesy Taco Pasta that’s creamy, flavorful, and utterly delicious!

Here are some popular questions and answers related to the Cheesy Taco Pasta recipe:

  1. Can I use ground turkey or chicken instead of ground beef? Yes, you can substitute ground turkey or chicken for the ground beef in this recipe. Just ensure that it’s fully cooked before adding the taco seasoning and proceeding with the recipe.
  2. Can I make this recipe vegetarian? Absolutely! Simply omit the ground meat and add extra vegetables like bell peppers, onions, or black beans for protein. You can also use a meat substitute such as crumbled tofu or textured vegetable protein (TVP).
  3. What can I use instead of Velveeta cheese? If you prefer not to use Velveeta, you can substitute it with another type of processed cheese or a combination of shredded cheeses like cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Colby. Adjust the amount of cheese to achieve the desired creaminess.
  4. Is it possible to make this recipe gluten-free? Yes, you can make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta and ensuring that the taco seasoning you use is gluten-free as well. Check the labels carefully to avoid any gluten-containing ingredients.
  5. Can I make Cheesy Taco Pasta ahead of time? Yes, you can prepare the Cheesy Taco Pasta ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Reheat it gently on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding a splash of milk to loosen the sauce if needed, before serving.
  6. Can I freeze Cheesy Taco Pasta? While you can freeze Cheesy Taco Pasta, keep in mind that the texture of the pasta may change slightly upon thawing. To freeze, portion the cooled pasta into freezer-safe containers or bags, and store it in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

  7. What can I serve with Cheesy Taco Pasta? Cheesy Taco Pasta is a complete meal on its own, but you can serve it with a side salad or steamed vegetables for a balanced meal. You can also garnish it with toppings like diced tomatoes, sliced jalapeños, or avocado for extra flavor and freshness.
  8. How can I make Cheesy Taco Pasta spicy? To add heat to your Cheesy Taco Pasta, you can use a spicier variety of taco seasoning, add diced jalapeños or green chilies to the sauce, or sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes over the finished dish before serving.
  9. Can I customize the toppings? Absolutely! Feel free to customize the toppings based on your preferences. Some popular options include sour cream, guacamole, salsa, diced onions, or chopped fresh cilantro.
  10. How can I make Cheesy Taco Pasta healthier? To make Cheesy Taco Pasta healthier, you can use whole wheat or chickpea pasta for added fiber, lean ground meat or plant-based protein alternatives, and reduce the amount of cheese or use low-fat cheese options. Additionally, load up on vegetables to increase the nutritional content of the dish.

These are some common questions and answers related to the Cheesy Taco Pasta recipe, which can help you prepare and customize this delicious dish to suit your needs and preferences.